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Employment: Enforcement and Inspections

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 230890, tabled on 11 March 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to increase the resources allocated to labour inspection and labour law enforcement.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

15 March 2019

The Government is exploring options for a single labour market enforcement body – we will publish proposals on this for consultation shortly. More recently we announced that this consultation will consider extending the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority’s licensing scheme to further sectors and that we will ensure trade unions and businesses are consulted on the strategic direction of labour market enforcement.

As part of the forthcoming Spending Review we will consider what level of funding is appropriate to ensure that it is adequately resourced to deliver its strengthened remit.

Government is committed to ensuring fair and effective enforcement. We have taken concrete measures to increase the number of labour market inspectors and extend their coverage.

  • Government has increased funding for HMRC’s enforcement of the National Minimum and Living Wage (NMW) to a record high of £26.3 million for 2018/19. The NMW enforcement team went from 140 staff in 2015-16 to 424 in 2017/18 (measured on a full-time equivalent basis).
  • Funding for the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has also risen in the last two years to reflect the expansion of its remit to tackle labour exploitation. The GLAA now receives over £7m per year in funding, up from £4.5m in 2016/17.
  • The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate has seen its funding increase from £0.5m in 2016/17 to £0.725m in 2018/19.

The Good Work Plan went further, setting out a number of measures to improve state enforcement of core employment rights. In addition to introducing state enforcement of holiday pay for vulnerable workers, we also committed to expand protection of agency workers to cover umbrella companies.

Answered by

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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